Best Cheap Canister Vacuums

Published on   By 

Price Range
Cheapism $50 - $100
Mid-Range $100 - $600
High End $600 and up

Recent updates

Be sure to maintain your vacuum to create a healthier home. You may need to replace filters, or purchase an updated model. 

Our Picks

lg 012014 eureka mighty mite 3670g 250
lg 012014 dirt devil featherlite cyclonic sd40100 250
lg 012014 eureka readyforce 250
lg 012014 panasonic mc cl310 bagless 250
lg 012014 dirt devil lite bagless canister sd40010 ez 250
lg 012014 eureka pet lover mighty mite 3684f 250

Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G Review

From $57 Best

Users like the powerful suction that works well on hard floors and low carpet. The light weight and long cord and hose make it very easy to tote around the house and even out to the car.

We can't help but notice the overwhelming number of positive reviews the Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G receives. This bagged canister vacuum garners more than 750 reviews at Amazon and more than 700 at Walmart where it averages 4.2 and 4.5 stars, respectively. Comments at both sites reveal that most users are thrilled with the might of this little machine, saying the powerful suction attacks dirt, sand, hair -- you name it. One reviewer reports using it to clean an entire house top to bottom -- carpeted stairs and all -- on a regular basis; another lets it tackle the car interior; and a third says cleaning mini-blinds with this vacuum is akin to having the perfect teeth-cleaning tool. Other reviewers consider it the bargain of the century, adding that the feather weight and accessible attachments up the user-friendly quotient.

Even so, the Eureka Mighty Mite claims its share of detractors. A handful of reviews grouse about the build quality, saying the plastic connectors are hard to work with and the power cord gets uncomfortably hot. And a few assert the suction is too weak to pull up carpet lint or pet hair from smooth surfaces while some carp about kinks in the plastic hose and a cord that doesn't retract automatically.

The Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G (starting at $57, Amazon) is the lightest canister vacuum on our list, weighing a svelte 8.6 pounds, a feature that many reviews consider desirable. (One user initially bought it for the kitchen, but says the combination of power and mass prompted her to start using it everywhere.) This model boasts a washable standard filter, a cord that stretches 20 feet, and a hose that run 6 feet. The Mighty Mite features a 12-amp motor with fingertip controls and comes with a bare floor brush, crevice tool, dusting/upholstery brush, as well as two extension wands and a blower port. It cuts a 10-inch cleaning path.

There's almost nothing not to like about this small canister vacuum. Most reviewers say it's plenty powerful and easy to maneuver, and features ample attachments. Moreover, the price is certainly right.

Dirt Devil Featherlite SD40100 Review

From $59 Best

A washable HEPA filter, 7.5-foot cleaning reach, and five attachments make this lightweight model a hit with users. The automatic retractable 16-foot cord sweetens the deal.

The bagless Dirt Devil Featherlite Cyclonic Canister Vacuum (starting at $59, Amazon) is lauded by users for many reasons. Reviews at Amazon are a case in point. One user crows about the upholstery attachment, which she says is often missing from the tool set on other budget canister vacuums, and praises the Featherlite's efficiency at sucking up human hair and debris from furniture. Other Dirt Devil Featherlite Cyclonic reviews report that it does the job on rabbit hair and stray pieces of cat litter, and clears away dust balls and fuzz from underneath sofas and beds. This bagless model also earns a shout-out for a retractable cord, an easy-to-empty dirt cup, and a value price. One post at Walmart says it does a better job on rugs than the household's upright, and is a lot less noisy.

Some Dirt Devil Featherlite Cyclonic SD40010 reviews take a dimmer view, however. Disappointed users assert it doesn't glide on carpets or pick up carpet dirt, and has a tendency to overheat and clog. A few also grouse about the build quality, pointing to loose wheels, a short cord, and difficulty attaching parts.

The Dirt Devil Featherlite Cyclonic SD40010 comes with an impressive array of features. The dirt cup empties from the bottom and the 16-foot cord automatically retracts after stepping on the rewind button. On-board tools include an upholstery brush and a dusting brush/crevice tool; there's also a 10-inch bare-floor nozzle with a retractable brush and the hose plus wand provide a 7.5-foot cleaning reach. This is the only canister vacuum on our list with a washable HEPA filter and cyclonic technology, which separates the dust from the air drawn into the vacuum and filters the air before pushing it back out. The Dirt Devil Featherlite weighs just 9.5 pounds and is powered by a 10-amp motor.

The Dirt Devil Featherlite Cyclonic canister vacuum is a top choice, but is really designed for users who will be vacuuming hard surfaces, furniture, and upholstery; don't count on carpets getting a full-bore treatment. If you're looking for a bagless, lightweight canister vacuum with a HEPA filter, this could be the one.

Eureka ReadyForce Bagged Canister Vacuum 900A Review

From $57 Good

Users like the powerful suction, especially on bare floors, but some find it hard to pull given the top-mounted hose.

One Eureka ReadyForce 900A review at Best Buy neatly sums up the performance of this bagged canister vac by saying that strong suction makes just one pass sufficient. Other users generally echo this sentiment by noting that the Eureka ReadyForce 900A makes quick work of common household dust and fuzz; several users report being pleasantly surprised given the small package and the small price. The view from Amazon is much the same. Eureka ReadyForce 900A reviews talk up its practicality, especially for the quick, in-between-full-scale-cleaning jobs when small pockets of mess, like stray pet-bird feathers, need cleaning up; it keeps laptop keyboards looking neat and tidy, as well. Other virtues of this budget model, according to reviewers, include practical accessories, an efficient filter, and a right-sized 6-foot hose.

Its performance fails to impress everyone, however. Some Eureka ReadyForce 900A reviews assert this bagged model is fine for light-duty work on bare floors and walls (need to vacuum high vents, anyone?) and indoor/outdoor carpeting but can't manage a deep clean on carpets with thicker pile. A few grumble that the ReadyForce doesn't roll easily when pulled from behind and tumbles over while vacuuming, and some consider the 16-foot power cord too short.

As a cheap canister vacuum, the Eureka ReadyForce 900A (starting at $57, Amazon) has a lot going for it. It weighs 10.5 pounds and fits into small storage spaces. It uses a micro filter that requires periodic cleaning and, ultimately, replacement. Replacement dust bags are readily available, and one user asserts that changing them out is easier than with other models. The attachment hose runs 6 feet and two wands are included in the package. The ReadyForce 900A comes with three on board attachments: a floor brush that can be set for carpets or bare floors, a dusting brush, and an upholstery nozzle. It cleans a path 10.5 inches wide and is powered by a 12 amp motor.

Strong suction and ease of use are big draws for the Eureka ReadyForce 900A. A majority of reviewers seem pleased with this model and willing to overlook minor flaws.

Where to buy

Panasonic Bagless Canister Vacuum MC-CL310 Review

From $85 Good

The MC-CL310 stands out from the crowd with its multi-angle nozzle and swivel 6-foot attachment hose. Users like the cleaning convenience but some carp about insufficient suction.

It's all about ease of use with the Panasonic MC-CL310 canister vacuum, according to online reviews. Posts at Amazon, for example, commend the multi-angle nozzle, which slides under furniture, maneuvers through tight spaces, and is particularly well suited for corners and baseboards. Panasonic MC-CL310 reviews also laud the 360-degree swivel on the hose, which they say keeps it from getting tangled, the comfortable hand grip, and the easy-empty dirt cup, which one user notes is most welcome when a flea infestation requires daily dumping. This canister vac also earns qualified praise for efficacy on hard floors, stairs, and small, low-pile rugs. It's a fine "second" vacuum, concludes one reviewer at Newegg, with strong suction and maneuverability but some limitations in the face of pet hair and thick carpets.

Indeed, some users just aren't sold on its cleaning performance and a number of Panasonic MC-CL310 reviews gripe about non-rotating brushes in the nozzle (i.e., no help on carpets). This little vaccum also gets dinged on occasion for losing suction over time and for parts that don't fit together smoothly. A bit of carping pops up here and there about its perceived "delicacy."

The Panasonic MC-CL310 canister vacuum (starting at $85, Amazon) offers a nice mix of features. It sports a 6-foot swivel attachment hose with a 9-foot cleaning reach (thanks to a telescoping wand), and the onboard attachments -- a crevice tool and a dusting brush -- are stored in the wand for easy access. The multi-angle nozzle adjusts as needed while staying flat against the surface; there is no bare floor option or carpet height adjustment, however. This budget model comes with a HEPA filter that requires periodic replacement, and a 16-foot power cord that automatically rewinds. It runs on an 11-amp motor, cleans an 8-inch path, and weighs a relatively hefty 13 pounds. Users of the bagless Panasonic MC-CL310, however, don't seem hindered by the load.

If you're tired of dealing with tangled hoses and nozzles that don't fit where they're needed, then the Panasonic MC-CL310 canister vac is a worthy contender. Although some users are less than thrilled about its vacuuming chops, the majority are generally satisfied.

Dirt Devil EZ Lite Bagless Canister SD40010 Review

From $79 Think Twice

The Dirt Devil SD40010 EZ Lite has its fans, but many reviewers say it clogs easily and seems poorly built. It sports a 20-foot power cord and a HEPA filter.

The bagless Dirt Devil EZ Lite SD40010 looks great on paper, but reviews indicate it doesn't pass muster with users. In comments posted at Amazon, for example, users gripe about inadequate suction and constant clogging, particularly if the humans or the animals in the household are shedders. (Fingers or some other blunt instrument required for the rescue.) Other complaints cited in Dirt Devil EZ Lite SD40010 reviews relate to build quality. Users protest what they consider thin plastic and a less than sturdy feel and "stubs" (as opposed to brushes) on the floor attachment that fail to pick up dust or dirt. The critique continues in Dirt Devil EZ Lite SD40010 reviews at Target, where users again mention problems with clogging. One post reports that the clog indicator light sent a false alarm (no obstruction found) and adds that the vacuum ceased working less than a year after purchase despite regularly cleaning the filter and emptying the dirt cup.

On the other hand, the Dirt Devil EZ Lite SD40010 (starting at $79, Amazon) meets some users' expectations. Many comment appreciatively on the 11.8-pound weight, variable speed, collapsible wand, and retractable cord. A number of reviewers assert this bagless canister vac does a fine job on hard surfaces. One reports that it efficiently inhales the sand that piles up on tile floors in Florida and another states that it rises to the challenge posed by six indoor cats.

The warranty on the Dirt Devil EZ Lite SD40010 is two years (parts and motor), unusually long for this product category. The EZ Lite SD40010 also features a HEPA filter, 6-foot hose, 32.5-inch wand that extends to 45 inches, 20-foot power cord, and 11-inch cleaning path. The speed on the 12-amp motor is variable -- all the better for a variety of surfaces, including bare floors, carpets, and upholstery, according to the company. And it comes with three on-board attachments -- a crevice tool, dusting brush, and floor nozzle.

Loaded with goodies, the Dirt Devil EZ Lite SD40010 sounds so appealing. But reports about weak suction and clogging give pause. There are more effective bagless canister vacuums for the taking.

Buying Guide

Cheap canister vacuums are versatile machines with arsenals of attachments. Although many users prefer upright vacuums with beater brushes that pound out the dirt for deep carpet cleaning, a cheap canister vacuum with a carpet attachment can get the job done adequately, though perhaps not to white-glove standards. Most budget models are best suited for lighter-duty housekeeping chores, from tile and hardwood floors to window treatments and upholstered furniture. Their various tools and brushes and long hoses allow them to reach places upright vacuums can't.

Cheap Canister Vacuums Buying Guide

Dirt Devil, Hoover, Bissell, Electrolux, and Eureka are the major manufacturers of cheap canister vacuums. Prices at the entry-level end of the market run between $50 and $100 while high-end canister vacuums can cost upwards of $600. Such upscale models may have power nozzles for deep cleaning and impressive suction power and operate with less noise than their budget counterparts, but they aren't necessarily superior to cheaper canister vacs for daily upkeep.

We identified the Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G (starting at $57) and Dirt Devil Featherlite Cyclonic Canister Vacuum SD40100 (starting at $59) as the best cheap canister vacuums due to their user-friendly weight, features, and performance. We also like the Eureka ReadyForce Bagged Canister Vacuum 900A (starting at $57) and Panasonic MC-CL310 Bagless Canister Vacuum (starting at $85) because they deliver value for the money. One low-cost model we could leave in the dust is the Dirt Devil Lite Bagless Canister SD40010 EZ (starting at $79), which garners its share of dings for build quality and a tendency to clog.

We compiled a list of critical features and read online user reviews to help you winnow down your options. The first decision you'll have to make is whether to go for a bagged or a bagless canister vacuum. Many users like the simplicity of dumping the cup on a bagless model into the garbage, but others say doing so can unleash a swirl of dust. In general, sealed bags do a better job containing the dirt and are easy to dispose of, although a bagged design requires more effort and a stream of replacement purchases. Among the models on our list, the Dirt Devil Featherlite Cyclonic and Dirt Devil EZ Lite SD40010 and the Panasonic MC-CL310 are bagless while the Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G and Eureka ReadyForce 900A take bags. Another Eureka model worth noting, the Pet Lover Mighty Mite 3684F (starting at $75), collects dirt, hair, and dust in an odor-eliminating bag.

The next decision point concerns filtration. Some consumers consider it vital to have a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. A HEPA filter is supposed to capture more than 99.9% of the tiniest dust, dander, mites, and other particles embedded in floors and furniture and is especially helpful for people with allergies. Of the models we researched, the Dirt Devil Featherlite Cyclonic and EZ Lite SD40010, the Panasonic MC-CL310, and the Eureka Pet Lover Mighty Mite all feature HEPA filters. The Eureka ReadyForce uses a microfiltration system and the Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G relies on a standard filter. Regardless of type, filters should be cleaned or replaced regularly; those on the Mighty Mite 3670G and Dirt Devil Featherlite can be washed. Just a note of caution: Make sure replacement filters are readily available. One post at Target reports that finding replacement filters for the Dirt Devil EZ Lite is a challenge.

Canister vacuums are meant to be more portable and versatile than upright models, so look for lightweight vacuums with long hoses and cords for easy maneuverability. The svelte Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G and its Pet Lover sibling weigh just 8.6 pounds while the heaviest model on our list, the Panasonic MC-CL310, tips the scale at 13 pounds but is still lighter than an upright, which typically weighs more than 14 pounds. Power cords on the models we researched run 16 or 20 feet in length, and hoses are either 5 or 6 feet long; several have wands for a longer reach.

Also check out the accessories to be sure they're meant for the surfaces you'll be vacuuming. A subset of bare-floor brush, dusting brush, crevice tool, soft-brush (upholstery) tool, and telescopic wands come with the cheap canister vacuums we researched. The Eureka Pet Lover Mighty Mite 3684F features a "pet power paw" attachment that's designed specifically to tackle pet hair on carpet and upholstery.

Most budget vacs come with a one-year warranty, although the Dirt Devil EZ Lite SD40010 warranty extends for two years.

Features Comparison Buying Guide continues below table

Canister Vacuum Reviews

Reviews of budget canister vacuums indicate that users sometimes expect more from this basic home appliance than it is engineered to provide. Two priorities regularly surface -- cleaning ability and ease of use -- and our top picks generally meet these standards. But these little cleaning machines are primarily intended for smooth surfaces, upholstery/drapery, and maybe small area rugs, and a fair number of reviewers express annoyance when they falter on thick carpeting. Others seem to accept their limitations and praise their versatility. We also noticed scattered complaints about build quality (lots of plastic) for all the models we researched. And while the issue of noise arises occasionally in canister vacuum reviews, it rarely impacts the overall assessment.

Canister Vacuums Cleaning Ability.

Cleaning performance is the most important factor for consumers, according to canister vacuum reviews. The vast majority of posts at Amazon rave about the cleaning chops of the Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G (starting at $57) when pitted against carpeted stairs and deep corners, wood trim and hard surfaces. Some users gripe about weak suction and the superiority of previous Eureka models, but one retorts that the powerful suction has not diminished during four years of service and another says she would pay four times the price because it is that effective.

Equally laudatory comments about the Dirt Devil Featherlite Cyclonic Canister Vacuum SD40100 (starting at $59) appear at Walmart, where one canister vacuum reviewer calls it his best friend. Others report that it picks up short pet hair and cat litter and does a fine job on cushions. A handful of posts assert that this Dirt Devil is ineffective on carpets.

The two second-place canister vacuum picks, the Eureka ReadyForce 900A (starting at $57) and Panasonic MC-CL310 (starting at $85), garner mostly above-average ratings for cleaning proficiency. Users are generally pleased with the Eureka ReadyForce, with comments at sites such as Best Buy extolling the power and effectiveness, particularly on small area rugs and bare surfaces; one review says it beats a broom by a factor of 10. Not surprisingly, some dissenting posts point to inadequate suction, especially when faced with messes wrought by children and pets. Canister vacuum reviews of the Panasonic MC-CL310 are a bit more reserved, with some at Amazon reporting weak suction regardless of surface and finding clumps of pet hair and grit that get trapped in the brush. A majority says this model is sufficient for light-duty tasks given its entry-level price.

Households with pets go for the Eureka Pet Lover Mighty Mite 3684F (starting at $75). As its name suggests, this budget model is adept at pulling up pet hair from every surface, according to reviews at Walmart. And, they add, it transitions cleanly from hard floors to light carpet duty.

Some cheap models disappoint more often than delight. Reviews posted at Amazon contend that the Dirt Devil Lite Bagless Canister SD40010 EZ (starting at $79) simply can't handle hair or fur of any kind. Users share stories of having to unclog the hose with a long, sharp object or their fingers after every use, and others say the clog indicator light often sends false alerts. The EZ Lite also takes heat for failing to clear away surface dust. Still, some users are satisfied with its performance, from sucking up ash from a wood stove that settles on carpets to cleaning a house full of tile floors.

Ease of Use.

A potpourri of features, such as retractable cords, flexible hoses, well-placed handles, and cleaning attachments help make canister vacuums user-friendly. Reviewers appreciate the easy-to-reach attachments on the wand and the multi-angle nozzle in the Panasonic MC-CL310, for example. Ditto for the fingertip controls on the Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G and the foot pedals that control the on/off switch and retract the cord on the Dirt Devil SD40100. A large carry handle facilitates moving the Eureka ReadyForce 900A up and down ladders and stairs, say posts at Best Buy. And canister vacuum reviews at Macy's talk up the virtues of the bottom-empty dirt cup on the Dirt Devil Featherlite.

And then there are the irritants. Some canister vacuum reviews report that parts don't always stay attached on the Panasonic MC-CL310 and the dirt cup seems a tad small. A few consider the 16-foot power cord on the Eureka ReadyForce 900A too short. The Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G takes heat for a hose that kinks, and a cord that doesn't retract and gets hot quickly. And the Dirt Devil Featherlite gets called out by some reviewers for overheating and not gliding easily over low-pile carpet.

Additional Products We Considered

Eureka Pet Lover Mighty Mite 3684F Review

From $75

Pet owners rejoice in the Eureka Pet Lover Mighty Mite 3684F, reviews attest. Approved by a professional maid who posted comments at Walmart, this inexpensive, bagged canister vacuum proves to be a match for cat, dog, and any other kind of hair commonly found in homes. Users praise the suction, saying it works equally well on hard floors and rugs, and is helped along by a lever that switches between the two. Most Eureka Pet Lover Mighty Mite 3684F reviews at Amazon agree, and some add that this model is a worthwhile investment even in pet-free zones. The Pet Lover Mighty Mite also scores points for durability, easy maneuverability even in tight spaces, and for a long cord and handy attachments, including a wand.

The Eureka Pet Lover Mighty Mite 3684F (starting at $75, Amazon) is a close relation of the Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G, our top choice. It comes with all the same features plus a pet attachment (the Pet Power Paw, designed for carpet and upholstery) that some user say cuts down on vacuuming time, a HEPA filter, and an odor-eliminating dust bag. Additional attachments include a crevice tool, dusting brush/upholstery brush, and blower port. Like its sibling, the Pet Lover Mighty Mite 3684F weighs a trim 8.6 pounds, boasts a 20-foot power cord, 6-foot attachment hose, 11-inch cleaning path, and 12-amp motor.

Absent pets in the house, you can save some green by buying the original Mighty Mite. But with animals around, spending slightly more on the Pet Lover would be a service to the household.